By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – There will come a day when Mike Bianco savors this achievement more.
Saturday he savored it a little bit, enough to reflect on what it means to him to have won more baseball games at Ole Miss than any previous coach.
After a pause for reflection Bianco hopes to see his Ole Miss team keep its winning streak alive today in Game 3 against Lipscomb and into this week against Louisiana-Monroe and Arkansas.
First pitch is at noon.
The Ole Miss win streak reached eight games Saturday as starter Mike Mayers threw six innings of scoreless, one-hit ball, and the Rebels defeated Lipscomb 8-5 before 7,330 fans at Swayze Field.
In the process Bianco won for the 486th time at Ole Miss, passing Jake Gibbs as the program’s winningest coach.
“It’s special. Ole Miss has been really good to me and my family,” said Bianco, who is 586-350-1 overall, 486-279-1 at Ole Miss.
The win secured the series for the No. 7-ranked Rebels (15-1), who won 10-1 on Friday and will go for their fourth consecutive weekend series sweep today.
As good as the Rebels’ bullpen has been this season there are limits to its depth.
With Mayers’ strong start Ole Miss pitching reached the seventh having allowed only seven runs over its last 51 innings.
The Bisons (6-9) came to life against Austin Blunt and Scott Weathersby in the seventh with five runs on five hits.
Aaron Greenwood came on to get the final out of the seventh and restored order with a scoreless eighth.
Offensively, Preston Overbey had three hits, Will Jamison and Stuart Turner two each, and Auston Bousfield had a two-run home run. Turner also drove in two runs.
It was a cruise control kind of day except for mild excitement in the seventh. The Bisons established some momentum then but didn’t rip the cover off the ball.
Bianco is in his 16th season as a head coach, all but three at Ole Miss. He won 100 games at McNeese State before arriving in Oxford for the 2001 season.
He will head into SEC play next Friday at Arkansas with a 195-153 conference record and will also be looking to guide the Rebels to a winning SEC mark for the first time since the 2010 team went 16-14.
“It’s a longevity award, but I don’t mean that jokingly. There have been a lot of great players, a lot of great coaches. The thing I’m most proud of is this,” Bianco said with a sweeping gesture to the renovated Swayze Field. “I’m proud that baseball matters here now.”